Red Sky July is an exciting alt-country super-group made up of Shelly Poole (Alisha’s Attic), Ally McErlaine (Texas) and Charity Hair (Alice Band). They are back with a special EP of tracks remixed by the great and the good called 'Radio Mixes' and we got to speak to Ally from the band about this incredible release that we love here at KBPS, that is out on the 16th June.
Thank you for joining us for the interview Ally! Could you give us a flavour of the EP?
It’s four of the best tracks from the last album. We’ve remixed them and we’re going to be putting out four videos as well. We don’t know if there’s a point in singles any more so we just wanted to put out these songs, as different versions from the album.
What makes them different from the album tracks?
They’ve been remixed by various mixers so they’re all sonically different.
Did you pick those tracks as a band and was it a difficult choice?
It was pretty easy. It was just the four tracks that were going to be singles off the album, the tracks we had made videos for but not put out yet, putting them all out as an EP.
Was making the videos a good experience?
Yes! One of the videos was filmed at the boxing gym where we go, and another is our niece with a hula hoop. Another video was filmed with a drone, and one is a light performance, so they’re all very different to each other.
Do you have a personal favourite track or video?
I’ve always liked ‘Sway’; it was my favourite song on our last record but it never quite made it out as a single so we’ll hopefully get some attention for it off this EP.
For those who are knew to you through this EP, you have several albums – what would you suggest as the best introduction to your sound?
We’ve made three albums and they’re all a progression. There’s ‘Red Sky July’, ‘Shadowbirds’ and ‘The Truth and the Lie’. If I’m honest I like them all equally! They can all be bought from iTunes.
You have live dates coming up in July; how would you describe your live sound?
On the album we’ve got a full band with drums and keys and strings, but when we play live we just play as a three-piece so it’s myself, Shelley and Charity singing harmonies. It’s quite stripped down with the guitar, mandolin and fiddle. We like to communicate a lot with the audience so it can be quite funny at times, but we never play the same set list twice so every gig is different.
That must keep it interesting for you as a musician?
It does! Unless we’re doing a tour or several gigs in a night where we have to rehearse for it and make it an event in itself.
Are you excited about supporting Jim Lauderdale?
Yeah, it’s cool, as I love his work and I really like the venues we’re playing in. It’s the Stables and King's Place in London. They’re really nice venues!
As a band you’ve been involved individually with Alisha’s Attic, Texas and the Alice Band among others; that must be exciting to have all that talent coming together?
Yeah. We didn’t really have a chance to do the music we wanted to do in our respective bands so we all did this project to allow us to play country and the roots side of our music, and it’s a bit alternative, so it’s a little left-field at times. It was kind of a labour of love at first but it’s become an on-going project.
What’s the plan after your EP release?
We’ve already started working on new music and we’ve got lots of ideas. My feelings are that the age of albums is possibly over and we should concentrate more on EPs. I’m not sure if people will sit and listen to albums all the way through. I think we’ve all got lifestyles now where that doesn’t happen. I know I do, and a lot of other people do, but I’m not sure everybody does as much as they used to. Nowadays people listen to music a lot on the go, a lot of the time in playlists.
Towards Christmas I’ve got a long tour with Texas to do and then I’ll be back to do Red Sky July stuff next year, and hopefully we’ll slot in a few gigs before Christmas as well!
Finally, what are your ambitions for the rest of the year?
With the Texas tour happening I’ve got to balance that. Next year we hope to have another album out or a few EPs or whatever, but we’re always constantly writing songs to better ourselves. We just really enjoy making music for the sake of it and if people want to have a listen we’re glad!